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View Diary: Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 7/18 (335 comments)

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  •  Untrue (2+ / 0-)
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    propjoe, Inkpen

    JFK was not in over his head.  After a slow start, he successfully handled the Cuban Missle Crisis, pushed civil rights and introduced the civil rights act, and successfully negotiated and won approval of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

    RFK's AG's office brought lawsuits that led to the integration of universities and schools throughout the south.

    by Paleo on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 09:19:36 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Hmm... (2+ / 0-)
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      lordpet8, nimh

      The Cuban Missile Crisis occurred because of (1) the Bay of Pigs, a bona-fide Kennedy disaster that convinced Castro he needed outside help, and (2) Kennedy's misreading of Krushchev and poor handling of the Berlin crisis, which convinced old Nikita that JFK was a dilettante who wasn't tough or sharp enough to handle him. Which, considering the history of the Berlin crisis, was a fair conclusion. If you read Caro's most recent LBJ book, the picture painted is of a intelligent, driven man who was pushed into politics by his father and, while he enjoyed campaigning and being in office, paid little attention to his duties in Congress or the White House. The Test Ban Treaty was a win (that's one of the few significant victories), but he was mostly useless legislatively and virtually all of his proposals were stalled by the time he was killed. The budget, the tax cut, Medicare, Medicaid, Civil Rights Act, all idle because Kennedy didn't pay attention when he was in the Senate, had little understanding of where the power lied there. He only had one real friend there, anyway. George Smathers.

      Sure, Kennedy did some good things on civil rights as AG. He also tapped MLK's phone, freelanced on foreign policy, and tried to kill Fidel Castro with an exploding seashell. From the books about RFK I've read, the Castro stuff was what he spent more of his time on than nearly anything else.

      •  Medicare (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        That's one I forgot about.  He pushed that.

        Failure to get things through congress was no surprise due to the 67 vote fillbuster and southern committee chair domination.  It took his assasination and the '64 landslide for those bills to become law.  LBJ deserves credit, but without those two events, he would have had greate difficulty getting any of the legislation through.

        JFK was a mediocre senator, but it's not fair to judge his presidency the same because he barely had three years.  The final year or so he started coming into his own.

        by Paleo on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 09:52:44 AM PDT

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        •  Okay (4+ / 0-)
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          ChadmanFL, sacman701, lordpet8, nimh

          This is sorta correct, but not entirely. JFK's assassination had little to do with why the CRA passed in early 1964. The people hostile to the bill stayed hostile. The main difference was that LBJ knew the legislative process extremely well, and was able to get House Judiciary Chair Howard Smith (a Virginia conservadem hostile to civil rights) to knuckle under with the threat of a discharge petition. And he'd cleared out all important legislation from the Senate, so that the Dixiecrats had nothing to delay to keep CRA from passing. It was, in retrospect, just common sense strategy, basic sort of understanding of how Congress works, but Kennedy's guys simply had no clue on how to get it through.

          I don't deny he got a little better as he went on. But he would never have been a great president. I mean, the guy spent about three hours a day on the job at best. And between the health issues and the "treatment" Dr. Feelgood was giving him, he should never have held the office at all. With modern-day scrutiny, would never have happened.

          •  I actually think it'd be nice (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            to see another president with the kind of skill for getting his agenda through Congress that Johnson had.

            He gets a lot of shit, rightly so, for being a dick, but the man knew how to get the votes he needed.

            •  Such a president is currently serving. (2+ / 0-)
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              askew, Stephen Wolf

              Obama has more or less used his leverage with Congress to maximum effect.

              You don't fight the fights you can win. You fight the fights that need fighting. -President Andrew Sheppard (D-Wisconsin)

              by Gpack3 on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 01:33:02 PM PDT

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              •  Really? (2+ / 0-)
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                nimh, skibum59

                You think LBJ would've stood by and let Lieberman, Baucus, etc., give us the weak-ass ACA we eventually got?  Or a watered-down stimulus package?  

                Hell, he would've probably even worked out the whole fiscal cliff/debt ceiling thing in a way that ensured he wouldn't have to keep going rounds with Congress on it every year and a half or so.

                Seriously, read up on Johnson and "the treatment."  The man knew every member of Congress he needed for his agenda, inside and out.  Knew what made them tick, and exactly what he had to say to get them behind him, whether it was threatening their seat, or agreeing to throw his weight behind some project for their district.

                Those defections we had from Conserva-Dems on some of those issues I mentioned above?  They would've been less likely under a president like LBJ.  

                I for one was hoping, especially during the stimulus and ACA debates, that Obama would tell the Dem defectors that if they voted against those things, he would do everything in his power to make sure they got a credible primary challenger.

                •  lets not have a fight over this off-topic subject (2+ / 0-)
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                  Stephen Wolf, Darth Jeff

                  lets just disagree about it.

                  ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

                  by James Allen on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 02:57:27 PM PDT

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                •  That's a hell of a lot harder to do though (2+ / 0-)
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                  Gpack3, nimh

                  when your party caucus is much more ideologically driven and less driven by pork and regional issues. It's much harder to pressure someone like Ben Nelson and his band of merry bluedogs today than it was when such characters could easily be replaced. Even in the 2009 environment, primarying someone in a swing district over the stimulus wouldn't be guaranteed to elect a more liberal representative and our house majority was built on the conservadem caucus.

                  I don't think any of that is Obama's problem aside from the fact that he just doesn't seem to have been ready for Republicans to filibuster everything from day one. LBJ just had conditions that made it much more easy to manipulate a damaged system while Republicans had the means and the desire to break it once and for all.

                  That and it just suggests that what went on in public with Obama being "feckless" was the same that went on behind close doors. We have no idea how ruthless and vigorously he and people like Reid push for the priorities nor did the public know it at the time of LBJ to any appreciable extent.

                •  It seems that you and I disagree (0+ / 0-)

                  on how much leverage Obama actually had.

                  You don't fight the fights you can win. You fight the fights that need fighting. -President Andrew Sheppard (D-Wisconsin)

                  by Gpack3 on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 03:09:15 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I apologize for how confrontational it sounded. (3+ / 0-)
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                    Stephen Wolf, lordpet8, nimh

                    I just disagree with the idea that president Obama is some master strategist who is playing 11th dimensional chess.

                    Granted, Stephen Wolf's point is a valid one, about the environment being different.

                    But Obama also has another disadvantage that wouldn't allow him to do what Johnson did.  Simply put, if we combine his House and Senate tenures, Johnson was in Congress for 24 years.  He knew a lot of these people, and knew what made them tick.  And if he didn't know them personally, he knew how different TYPES of legislators and politicians tended to think.

                    President Obama was a senator for 2 years before becoming president.  That's nowhere near long enough to learn those kinds of things.  

                    So I guess to be more fair to him, I should just say he's more out of his element than Johnson.

              •  honestly it's hard to compare (1+ / 0-)
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                Both you(Gpack3) and  The Dude 415 make some fair points.

                The senate wasn't as far polarized back in the 1960's as it is now. You had plenty of liberal R's and conservative D's break ranks to make congress appear much more bipartisan.

                LBJ was just one of best of deal makers when it came to passing laws out of congress. The fact that he was able to gather enough support to pass the civil rights act of 1964 with strong opposition of his southern base is a true testament to his skill. And this was before the Democrats made their massive gains in congress for the 1964 election.

                Sure if we had LBJ here today trying coral votes for ACA I'd say he'd do a little better than Obama but it would pale in comparison to what he was able to do in the 1960's. Having LBJ here today would be like having a senate leader like Reid or McConnell become president. Sure they'd have a little better leverage in the senate but I think the partisan gridlock today would greatly limit their ability to pass legislation.

                "It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument" ~William Gibbs McAdoo(D-CA)

                by lordpet8 on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 07:24:21 PM PDT

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            •  Absolutely agreed (3+ / 0-)
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              jncca, ProudNewEnglander, lordpet8

              if it weren't for Vietnam, LBJ would be remembered like the second coming of FDR among liberals. Getting Medicare and the Great Society programs ushered through was a monumental improvement over the past and that was really only possible through the Goldwater landslide.

              Ah, Barry Goldwater was the original teabagger.

      •  RFK (0+ / 0-)

        Not sure which books you might be referring to but they certainly aren't the same I've read. After the Bay of Pigs JFK certainly got Bobby involved in Cuba but his focus if not obsession as AG was clearly organized crime.

        "What do you mean "conspiracy"? Does that mean it's someone's imaginings and that the actual polls hovered right around the result?" - petral

        by conspiracy on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 10:23:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The Bay of Pigs was planned during the Eisenhauer (0+ / 0-)

        years. Kennedy didn't stop it. Caro isn't noted for his objectivity. Other historians treat Kennedy more favorably.

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